The South Carolina Code of Laws defines a motorcycle as “having no more than two permanent functional wheels in contact with the ground or trailer and having a saddle for the use of the rider, but excluding a tractor.” Motorcyclists in South Carolina must obtain a class M license. This license is available to any individual 15 years of age or older who has held another class beginner’s permit for at least 180 days and has passed the vision, written, and motorcycle skills tests. Those under the age of 18 must have parental consent to apply for their motorcycle license. Once they have received their license, it is important that motorcyclists obey all traffic regulations and maintain proper motorcycle insurance coverage.
Motorcycle License Requirements
- At least 15 years of age
- Have held another class beginner’s permit for at least 180 days
- If under 18, parental consent is required
- If under 18, PDLA form is required, certifying the completion of a driver’s education course, satisfactory school attendance, and 40 practice hours, including 10 hours at night
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Proof of residency
- Insurance information
- Fee of $4.50 for skills test and permit, $12.50 for a five-year license, $25.00 for ten-year license
- Written examination
- Vision test
- Skills test
In terms of motorcycle insurance, South Carolina requires all operators to carry proof of financial responsibility. The minimum motorcycle insurance requirements in South Carolina are 15/30/10. This means motorcyclists are required to carry $15,000 in bodily injury coverage for injuries or death for a single individual in an accident, $30,000 in bodily injury coverage for injuries or death for multiple individuals in an accident, and $10,000 in property damage coverage. Proof of a valid motorcycle insurance policy is required at all times while operating the vehicle. Operators can comply with motorcycle insurance laws in one of three ways:
- Buy Insurance — Individuals can obtain coverage from an insurance broker or agent. This will involve paying a motorcycle insurance premium, usually divided into monthly payments.
- Bond — Motorcyclists can secure a bond from a surety company licensed to do business in the state. This involves leveraging cash or real estate as an individual’s proof of financial responsibility.
- Certificate of deposit — This requires the deposit of $35,000 in either cash or securities to the State Treasurer in order to prove financial responsibility.
Those trying to determine motorcycle insurance costs must understand that rates can vary greatly from customer to customer. Motorcycle insurance companies look at a number of factors, such as the operator’s age, gender, marital status, driving experience, driving record, location, type of motorcycle, and the number of miles travelled on a regular basis. For example, young, unmarried male motorcyclists are more likely to receive higher insurance quotes than older married males because they are statistically more likely to get into accidents. In addition, if you have a record of traffic tickets or accidents, you can also expect to pay more for your insurance. Due to the increased risk of operating this type of motor vehicle, motorcycle insurance prices average more than car insurance rates. Those looking for the best rates on motorcycle insurance can qualify for a discount by completing a state rider education program.
Appropriate operation of a motor vehicle is essential to both your personal safety and the safety of others on the road. Failure to obey state motorcycle laws puts you at risk for traffic tickets, fines, increased motorcycle insurance cost, and the possible loss of your license. Some important rules for operating a motorcycle in South Carolina include:
- Goggles or face shields must be worn by any operators under the age of 21, unless the vehicle is equipped with a windscreen approved by the Department of Public Safety.
- Helmets must be worn by all operators and passengers under the age of 21.
- Rear view mirrors are required equipment for all motorcycles on the road.
- Passengers must have their own footrest, unless in a sidecar or enclosed cab.
- Lane splitting is prohibited.
- Motorcycles operating two abreast in the same lane are permitted.